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tv   The Dylan Ratigan Show  MSNBC  October 21, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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war. >> after nearly nine years, america's war in iraq will be over. over the next two months, our troops in iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. today i can say that our troops in iraq will definitely be home for the holidays. >> but we're not leaving because the pentagon strategically decided it was time to get out. iraq is effectively kicking us out by virtue of their refusal to authorize u.s. troops' immunity in their country beyond the end of the year. beyond that point, iraq refused, and so, hey, it sounds like the war is over. president obama says the u.s. is moving forward in a position of strength, but come january 1st, literally, when it comes to iraq
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and particularly iran's ambitions to project its power into the vacuum left by the loss of saddam hussein, the training wheels will be off. we start with nbc news foreign correspondent, ayman mohyeldin, and retired army colonel, medal of honor recipient, jack jacobs. it's an honor to see both of you. your gut reaction on the news, jack? >> sooner rather than later. save money, save lives. we were coming home in any case, and the president looks quite presidential by saying, we're not putting up with this stuff, we're leaving. >> and your two cents when you look at the dynamic? >> i think it's part of the changing landscape in the middle east, a very historic opportunity. as you mentioned, this is not necessarily an agreement about withdrawal. it was more of a failure an agreement and that's why we have come to this dead end road. >> what does it say, jack, about the way that america is allocating the lives and military resources of our nation, globally, that the decision to extend or not extend those resources is not based on
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strategic imperatives set at centcom or the pentagon about what our mission is, but is set based on whether we can cut an extension immunity deal with another government. >> well, it shows we don't plan very well, does it? otherwise, we would haven't gone to iraq in the first place. quite frankly, had we paid attention to strategic imperatives when we went into afghanistan, we would have reinforced success and stayed there, and then general mcchrystal would have been right. yeah, it takes about a decade to square these guys away. by thousand, we would be coming home. instead, we got diverted to iraq, lost lives and treasure in the ensuing years. >> if you were to look at the withdrawal, which we're now learning what a withdrawal looks like, it's october 21st, 2011. we just got the headline that we're going to withdraw, and the answer is, oh, well, you're going to have everybody out by christmas. pretty impressive. at the same time, ayman, we're being told that afghanistan is -- we're withdrawing from afghanistan. i remember doing a show, running the press conference, with the president, can you believe we're
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coming out of afghanistan? high five, top of the paper. how could we be withdrawing -- this is to both of you, but how could we be withdrawing from iraq in two months and why are we withdrawing from afghanistan over two years? >> well, you know, the bottom line is iraq is in a much better position than afghanistan. iraq does have a lot more at stak stake, there's no doubt, because of the internal composition. but iraq has a security force that is somewhat operable. not necessarily like afghanistan, but somewhat operable. they don't have the same kind of external threats, which is what's kind of dissecting afghanistan apart. it makes it a little bit easier for the u.s. to pull out. >> in that case, are we lying to the american people when we claim to be withdrawing from afghanistan when we're obviously not withdrawing from afghanistan? >> well, we'll eventually withdraw from afghanistan. there are two things here. the first is, we've got a lot more people in afghanistan than we do in iraq, and they're combat troops. there are a large number of combat troops in afghanistan. theoretical
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theoretically, none in iraq. but if the president really wanted to leave afghanistan, as quickly as possible -- >> the same way he must leave iraq. >> we're getting out anyway, but by the way, once we leave afghanistan, i don't think necessarily, we will have empowered the local leaders significantly more than they're currently empowered, because i really do believe in an unconventional war, it takes a long time to do and we'll be there a long time. the president really wanted to get out of afghanistan as quickly as possible, in an orderly fashion, we could probably do it in six months. >> one of the issues that's really interesting in all of this is can the united states, after withdrawing from iraq, deal with iraq as a sovereign partner and not want to impose on it a solution? this issue of immunity is very sensitive. there's no doubt about it. it's going to rub americans the wrong way. we were there, we sacrificed our lives, why are you not giving us immunity? but this is the test to president obama is saying. what other country would allow foreign forces to exist on its soil with immunity? the reason why i say that, there
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have been some notorious incidents of american involvement in iraq, none of which the american government could do anything about. this is an american military action. now the question is, can the united states and iraq deal on these sensitive issues as co-partners. >> particularly as iran continues most likely to exert influence in iraq. >> i think the answer is, we can't, because there isn't a single unity that's called iraq now in any case. if anything, this demonstrates the strength of muqtada al sadr, the strength of iran, and i think the possibility that there might be another civil war, quite frankly. it demonstrates, if nothing else, that the president of iraq is not necessarily in control of his own country. >> and when you talk again, whether it's to the stratfor people and people like yourself that look at iraq, it is clear that the northwest corner of iraq is largely a kurdish population that on and off has danced around the idea of saying, why are we iraq when we might as well be southeast turkey. and there's a mountain range behind us anyway.
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i'm not even iraq -- i'm t turkish, i don't think i'm iraqi today. and then the sunni/shia issue. does anybody on our side of the fence at the pentagon or elsewhere even know what the stability of those relationships? >> the selling point for the united states to iraqis is, every one of these groups that you mentioned, they have to realize, their interests are better together than apart. the shias get pulled out of iraq and start aligning themselves with iran, they'll be isolated and start losing a lot. the kurds try to establish a separate state, they're landlocked. >> what happens to southeast turkey? >> the problem here -- >> you don't have to indulge that. >> you know who the odd man out is here? the sunnis, of course. >> keep in mind, the kurds are sunnis. they're not arabs, they're sunnis. more importantly, saudi arabia, jordan, syria, all of these countries that are sunnis have a vested interest. it's not to necessarily say that iraqis are going to immediately as the u.s. pulls out d
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disintegrate into civil war, because they recognize if iraq disintegrates into civil war, they all lose. >> educate me, educate everybody at home, for the typical iraqi resident, forget all the politics. if i live in iraq, what is the average availability of clean, running water, reliable power and electricity, reliable medical care, reliable food, groceries. reliable education? in other words, what is the basically civil society in that country and do we know that? >> well, i haven't been there in a couple of years, and it wasn't improving, and had improved a great deal. it depends on where you're talking about it and what service you're discussing. schools, yes. electricity less frequently in some places, electricity is on half the time. >> okay. >> a lot of places are rural areas and never had running water. and won't anytime soon. things that are a lot better now than when we first went in there. whether or not they're going to improve dramatically is hwhollya
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function of whether or not the government can hold together. and i think you made a good point, a logical person in iraq would say, hey, we either hang together or hang separately, but they've hanged separately in the past, i'm afraid. >> listen, i completely agree with you. all the socioeconomic indicators are getting better for iraqis. it's not yet good. >> the trend is improving, not deteriorating. >> absolutely. and a lot of that has to do not necessarily with military involvement, but it has to do with the fact that iraq has become a little bit more of an open society. investors are going in. >> not only that, but it seems like a lot of the middle class in iraq seem like they left for cairo when the war happened. and then when cairo went inside out, you watch a lot of that sort of doctor, lawyer, business professional from iraqi leaving cairo and actually going back to iraq, which was an interesting tell on life in egypt. anyway, look forward to talking to you guys. more in the future. it is a pleasure. again, i'm going to enjoy having you on the desk here. >> anytime. >> but if we spend too much time together, i get worried, and i
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see you out there, he shouldn't be in the middle of that thing. get him out of there. but anyways, it's a pleasure. coming up here on "the d.r. show," the politics of the pullout. the megapanel weighs in. and the other story out of the white house you likely did not hear about today. president obama signing those trade deals into law, and america getting another raw rigged trade deal. and america's most haunted. we'll take you on a road trip through the paranormal. it's all ahead. opens its doors or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee, it's not just good for business. it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities. that's why we extended $7.8 billion to small businesses across the country so far this year. because the more we help them, the more we help make opportunity possible.
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today, i can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in iraq will come home by the end of the year.
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the united states is moving forward from a position of strength. >> president obama this afternoon announcing a full troop withdrawal from iraq by years end. thousands of contractors will remain, all of this being precipitated by the inability to create a diplomatic agreement to extend u.s. troop presence in iraq. but, again, what the heck. it's a silver lining. i'm sure most people in this country, myself included, will take it. today, you'll notice our commander in chief avoided declaring anything along the lines of mission accomplished, simply concluded our time in that country. our friday megapanel, "the nation's" ari melbourne, and krystal ball, continuing the conversation we just had with jack jacobs and ayman. as you have the triple power vacuum, in egypt, in iraq, and now in libya, and the obviously able, chrystia, for iran to project itself into iraq. they're like, thank you. we've been waiting for you people to leave so we could run that place.
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how do you envision the leverage, not only of the u.s., but the leverage of the west, relative to the middle east and particularly iraq, going into the next six months. >> you know who i hope president obama is calling up is the president of turkey. i think that turkey is the most potentially positive actor in the region. >> why? >> it's a democracy, it's a muslim country, the economy is growing very, very vigorously. it's crucial as far as iraq goes, because of the kurds, and the turkish/kurdish problem and issue, and turkey is really on edge. right? the turks clearly want to extend their power in the region. eredgone has been to thahrir square in cairo. he's a very positive guy if you want to build an arab democracy -- if you want to build a muslim democracy, because he's done that. but he's on edge.
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he is turning more authoritarian domesticic i domestically. so that, if you can have a strong relationship with turkey and push turkey in the right direction, that would be great. >> which is interesting, because the interesting thing if you're going to do a turkey play, krystal, turkey has been very explicit about their aggressive desire to join the eu, meanwhile, the eu is in a terrible financial crisis, so you could go to the turks and say, come up with a $1 billion, bail them out, and we'll let you in the eu. >> and to your point, it's amazing how all of these regions, all of these countries, everything that's going on is so interrelated. and another way that turkey is on edge is they've also seen a lot of rising anti-american sentiment. so that's something that we obviously have to deal with. and pay attention to, because turkey is such an important player in the region. one thing, obviously, the conflict in iraq and what happened in libya could not be
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more different from one another in almost every way. in iraq, you're talking about $1 trillion, in libya you're talked about $1 billion. but one thing that they both have in exon is both countries sort of took their own destiny into their hands this week. i mean, libya, we gave them the freedom. this is their victory. did we support them? does the president deserve some credit? absolutely. but it was ultimately their victory. and iraq, they were the ones who said, you know what, guys, we're done with you. we're ready to move on. >> they're both, by the way, oil rich. so they both have an opportunity for new leadership and a huge revenue line. back at home, we've got the president with the credibility of having success in libya, through the elimination of gadhafi, you have the president with the ability to say, we're out of iraq, by the end of this year. the president killed osama bin laden, whatever -- not that long ago. the president, when it comes to foreign policy, is like, yosemite sam out there. you really have to figure, this is pretty impressive. this is an impressive run by
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this president. i wonder how it plays over the next year. >> if history is any guide, the way it plays is that ultimately, american presidents are not primarily judged by their foreign policy towards the middle east. 2011 clearly an inflection point for the region for all the reasons you stated. the last large inflection point would be 2001, when we had 9/11, back to 1991, when we had the gulf war, and before that, you have to go back to say, '73, their mideast conflict in israel. so if you look at 91, it's a very classic example. there was 80% plus approval rates for the first president bush, but they didn't last because of the economy. i think for those who want to say president obama deserves credit on substance, unfortunately, politics is not always about substance. so bin laden and libya don't matter for him in this kind of jobs environment. >> very quickly? >> if the republicans are smart, this is a good moment for mitt romney. because obama is doing so well on foreign policy, it would be suicidal for them to pick a less substantial candidate. >> right.
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>> but you know what's interesting, though, yes, i agree that this election is not going to be about foreign policy, but the republicans were trying to develop this narrative of the president is not an effective leader. and all of this just totally undercuts that narrative. in that way, it is important. >> except, maybe he's just bad on the economy. good on foreign policy, but bad on the economy. >> -- terrible bank policy, screwed up health care, and terrible policies as a great leader. the panel will rejoin us in a few. couldn't help myself, krystal. but let's talk about some screwed up trade policies. president obama this morning signing those so-called free trade agreements with south pa. to make a big deal about three countries that have vastly less purchasing power than, let's say, california, while simultaneously employing north korean slaves and enhancing bank secrecy would seem to be little more than a side show to the massive economic problems facing our problem, because of the lack of capital requirements and transparency in our banking
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system, the auction nature of our tax code, and the rigged nature of our trade policies. remember, from nafta to today, all trade deals in the past 20 years have cost us jobs, not helped us. instead of job creators, every single trade deal thus far has been a net job loser for america. the numbers simply don't lie. after nafta was signed in '93, the u.s. lost more than $879,000 directly to canada and mexico, and that $1.5 billion trade surplus we had with mexico soon turned into a $97 billion trade deficit. as for the deals today, the south korean deal alone, they're saying, could cost 159,000 jobs. in fact, the job losses from the new trade deals advocated by the republicans and the president were so bad that the democrats insisted on adding an extra sticker of spending to the trade deals to pay off the people who were going to lose their jobs through the job creating trade deals. joining us now, democratic congressman, brad miller, a man against these trade deals, and
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clyde presstowitz. let's be very clear. i think can i speak for the three of you and a lot of other folks. no one thinks that trade deals or doing trade deals is by any means a negative or positive event. it's like any deal, you're doing a deal. what is it about the way that we do deals, clyde, that gets us in so much trouble? >> well, we tend to do deals without looking at what we really get out of them. take the korean deal as an example. i met with some of the top white house officials while they were negotiating the deal and i asked them, why are we doing this? what's our purpose here? and the reply was, we want to show support for south korea. so what they were aiming at was some kind of a good touchy-feely relationship with south korea. jobs was really not the top priority. so if you negotiate a deal that you're not really focusing on jobs, you're probably not going to create them. >> do you agree with that assessment, congressman miller?
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>> there are specifics of each of the three deals that are reasons enough to be against them. and with the korean deal, yes, the estimates are we're going to lose 159,000 jobs in seven years, is probably going to increase our trade deficit with korea by almost $17 billion. but i do disagree a little bit with the statement that nobody's really all about the specifics of the deal. for the last generation, we have seen increasing inequality, income inequality in the united states. and the cumulative effect of all these trade deals have been an accelerant to that income inequality, and the people who lose are winners and losers, but always the same losers. american workers are always the losers and american corporate profits are always the winners. >> how much of the trade -- the nature of the trade policy, congressman miller, really has been driven by the auction nature of our policy making body? in other words, ge, for instance -- the ceo of ge is the
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jobs czar for this president. meanwhile, ge is one of the biggest investors and developers in china, benefits tremendously from that at america's expense. caterpillar, john deere, cummings engine. how much is the auction nature, the money in politics nature of this conversation distorting these trade agreements? >> well, there are large industries that do support it. and generally, the top business leadership, the american chamber of commerce is for all of them, obviously, always for all of them. and the financial sector is always for them as well, because they want to do business everywhere. and also, the trade deals have provisions that there can't be regulation of the financial industry that i would support. >> right. >> so they end up getting through a trade deal what preventing congress from having re-regulating some of the practices that were de-regulated. >> and clyde, how can we have known registered multi-national corporations who are explicitly not obliged to america in any
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way, shape, or form. their only responsibility is to their shareholders to make money at the expense of any and all other interests, including the united states of america. they know that if they send a few hundred million dollars, as they did for banking in 2010, as they did for health care in 2009, that the legislators will not change any of the policies, because we have an auction system. how is it that the american people are supposed to sit here and legitimately listen to somebody tell us that banks and multi-national corporations who do not have our interests are dictating america's trade policy? >> yeah. no, it's a job of people like you and i to make it clear to the public and to public leaders that the interest of american multi-national companies are not the same thing as the interest of america. and jeff immelt, who is the chairman of ge and also the chairman of the president's council on jobs and competitiveness is a prime example. you know, president obama is assuming, when he makes immelt
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the chairman of his council on jobs and competitiveness, that immelt's interest, and the interest of ge, is the same as that of the united states. but it's not. and so the result is that ge makes decisions, and i'm not criticizing ge necessarily for making these decisions, but it makes decisions that maybe good for ge in terms of gaining more access to korea, but are not necessarily good for the united states. >> thanks for the conversation, guys. congressman miller, thank you for your time this afternoon. clyde, it's a pleasure to have the conversation, like all of our major issues, banking, trade, taxes, health care, education, this is a conversation that's certainly not going to go away anytime soon, although i kind of wish it would if we could just solve it, but i don't have my hopes up. >> i wish it would. >> have a good weekend, guys. >> you too. >> thank you. the debate we deserve on trade, on taxes, on bank reform. what is preventing it? we know, the auction nature of our political system.
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remember, 94% of the time the candidate who raises the most money wins. that's not a democracy, that's an auction. and that is the basis behind our get money out campaign and for that matter, the launch of the get money out foundation. the petition now approaching 220,000 signatures. wow. as we ride and look to expand this digital wave into the millions, going into next summer as the electiond be sure to ches post at by jimmy williams, former lobbyist, now head of the get money out foundation. it is the first of what will be a weekly event, jimmy's friday memos to get you, me, and everybody else up to speed on where the get money out foundation stands on fund-raising, strategic development, and most importantly, people raising, as this will be an asset that will not be known for how much money it has, but for how many people that it has. that is our greatest capital. straight ahead, the author of "a beautiful mind," sylvia nasr here to talk about her
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latest work and how to fix the economy. the megapanel back for that conversation as well. [ groans ] [ marge ] psst. constipated? phillips' caplets use magnesium, an ingredient that works more naturally with your colon than stimulant laxatives, for effective relief of constipation without cramps. thanks. good morning, students. today we're gonna continue... [ indistinct talking on tv ] [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] vicks nyquil cold and flu. the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best sleep you ever got with a cold...medicine.
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joining us now, sylvia nasr, national book critic cycle award winner and author of "a beautiful mind." she has a new book, "grand pursuit." it is a story of economic genius, explores the creation and trial and error journey of modern economics, and to start, you can put our current economic state in the context of the past 200 years with this conversation. and how would you define modern economics as defined by our treasury secretary, our federal reserve, the people who are actually the architects of our current policy? >> well, we obviously are having an emergency, but like past emergencies, like past recessions, it's a temporary setback. we've had worse, and we've
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overcome them, our living standards are five times as high as they were in 1930. so, there's nothing -- what we have is not cancer. we have a flu. it's bad, and we should treat it, but it's not a sign that the end is nigh. >> tricia, go ahead. >> first of all, i am an unabashed fan of you and this book. it is an absolutely fantastic book. i urge everyone to read it. it is both very smart and very fun to read. reading it is, i don't know, probably not quite equivalent to getting a ph.d in economics, but certainly economics 101. i learned more than i did at harvard, and it was a lot more pleasant. so thank you very much. >> thank you. i'm speechless. >> my question is really sort of a variation of dylan's question, which is one of the things that was striking to me about your book is crises often produced
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great economists. and you recount the way that the crises produce greatness. is this crisis going to produce a great economic thinker who sort of adapts how we think about the economy in a way that helps to change the game? >> well, of course, we don't know who that is just as the people who are attracted to economics by the crises of the 1890s or the post-world war i, they weren't famous when they were young and decided not to become a railroad ceo or a math me technici ma technician, but instead to go to maeconomics because economic had to have something to offer. so i would say yes, but we don't know who they are. and all we know is that each crisis in the past has, and this is good, actually, for book
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sales, if one happened to have written a book about economics, because crises attract people to the field, and they also attract interests in the field, when everything's going well. >> who cares? >> who cares. >> go ahead, ari. >> here's what i want to know. you're telling stories about really smart people that a lot of us don't really understand. if i love bob marley, i feel like a connection to his music, i feel like i understand, even if i don't. but when i read about steve jobs, all i know is the dude thought ten steps ahead of everyone else. i don't really understand how he got there, right, nor can we replicate it. how do you, when you're looking at these kind of thinkers, how do you get us closer to their thought process in our lives? what is your thought process? >> well, what i try to do is, first of all, picture them when they were young, before they wore the mantle of greatness. and when they were trying to
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figure things out, when they were perplexed and troubled by what they saw, and kind of see them learning, because that's, of course, the first step to having ideas, is asking questions. >> chrystia? >> yeah, my question is actually related to what chrystia was saying about who's the next game changer in economics, which is, what direction is economics headed in? because the classical economics makes a lot of assumptions, it assumes people are wholly rational, we have perfect thinking. and what i have been seeing is a strain of new thinking that tries to take some of that into account. obviously, i'm an amateur observer. i was wondering if you're seeing the same thing and the same movement in the profession? >> i'm not an economist either, i'm a journalist. >> i guess i'm the only economist here. >> i guess you are. >> well, game theory.
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all these things about how people make decisions about that aren't strictly rational, that's what dominated the theories in the last new years. what it means is that economists can use their apparatus of the mind, their engine of the analysis, now to say something about subjects that they couldn't really address, that they haven't had anything to say about before. >> has the crisis somewhat discredited that engine of analysis? >> and specifically, because i actually wholly disagree with your assessment, that we don't have cancer. i am 100% certain we do have cancer, quite candidly, and believe it has to be addressed. and the cancer i see, specifically, is we have created a banking system that does not have capital requirements. and if there are not capital requirements in the banking
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system, and there's not capital requirements in the swaps market, if there's not an underlying risk retention by any of the capital markets participants, they're only incentive is to create debt. and that's now created $600 trillion in swaps speculation, tens of trillions of dollars around the world. and i'm curious how you reconcile an assessment of modest risk with a multi-hundred, trillion-dollar black swaps market that doesn't have exchanges and a global banking system that does not have any risk in the game, per se, because of its size. >> but that sounds like a political problem -- >> no, it's not. >> -- not a problem of economic knowledge. i mean, because you've already said -- >> how is it a political -- >> you've already said that the solution is capital requirements. >> right. >> well, then if we already know the answer, then the problem must be that --
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>> okay, that's fair. >> must be a political one. >> okay, i agree with that. >> very good. >> that's exactly right. >> i like that, though. that's good. i actually feel a little better now. we can fix it. we just don't want to. >> yeah. >> yeah. >> can't agree to, anyway. >> can you invite sylvia back, because i want to ask her one more question next time, which is, why so few women? you are a specialist in genius and -- >> i can't do it, because i've got a bunch of other guests waiting, i'm not going to be able to do that, but we should do that another time. >> another time. >> it's a pleasure to meet you. it's a pleasure to be here. >> and add some clarity for me. the panel goes. nice to see you guys. have a great weekend. a report on the end of the world when we come back, if we come back. today's the end of the world. you didn't know that? you name it.
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the world apparently going end to today, at least, maybe. this is according to harold camping. remember him? the good preacher predicted the end twice now, once in '94 and then more famously on may 21st of this year. the last prediction, of course, racked in millions of dollars for his nonprofit network. people quit their jobs in preparation for the coming rapture and billboards were placed around the world, warning us all to repent. well, as you may have noticed, may 22nd came and went and we're still here, which led a lot of camping's followers to ask, what happened. this time, camping said, he didn't want people to make a big fuss at the end of the world, he says the world won't end in fire and brimstone, it will be more of a quiet conclusion, like it will end like "the sopranos" or "lost," just sort of a fade to black. we'll give mr. camping the benefit of the doubt on this one. third time's a charm. maybe he'll get it right this time. which gives us roughly 13 hours until the clock strikes
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deadline, or three stik or thre mr. camping is out of the doomsday predicting. this show is not over yet. i want to tell you my secret now. >> okay. >> i see dead people. >> a journey into the paranormal with the author of the new book, "haunted ground" after this. udd' a-oooh. ♪ [ female announcer ] mini™ meets berries. kellogg's® frosted mini-wheats cereal with a touch of fruit in the middle. helloooooo fruit in the middle.
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[ deep breath ] thank you! that's the cold truth!
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bloody mary, bloody mary, bloody mary. >> i'm scared. >> ah! >> ah! >> hey! >> stop. >> sorry. >> it's not funny. >> scared much? that's the third installment of "paranormal activity," hitting theaters today, by the way. expected to scare up big bucks at the box office this weekend. no surprise since we all know spooky centric sells. you've got an american horror story, "the mentalist," and not to mention shows like "ghost hunters," which brings us to wonder, how did americans get so obsessed with the paranormal? joining us now, david petterine.
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he traveled to three of america's more distinct or weird and haunted spots in order to learn more about our obsession with the unknown. darrel's written all about it in his new book, "haunted ground: journeys through a paranormal america." pleasure to meet you. >> thank you. >> did you see any ghosts? >> not during my trips cross-country, no, i have not. >> and did you -- what would you say that you know now that you didn't know before you began writing this book? >> well, actually, what i have a much clearer idea of is how much of the paranormal we actually can't explain. oftentimes, if you talk to a hard-core skeptic, they'll tell you it's all self-delusion, all deception, all hoaxes. but i'm personally convinced that at least a small percentage of the activity is for real and raises very interesting questions. >> what have you found? i'll play the skeptic. what have you found is the most, the hardest to overcome for the
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skeptics in terms of indicting the integrity of any of the information surrounding paranormal activity? >> i would have to say, in terms of my own personal research, some of the experiences i had at the spiritualist camp of lilydale left me with more questions than answers. during the summer of 2007, i had about five or six different medians in different times and in different places bring through consistent messages from my own father, who had passed away 25 years earlier. and i've read the skeptical explanations that you read meaning into things because you want there to be meaning and so forth. but experiences like that, they happen enough, really, leave you skeptical about the skeptics. >> let's go through some of the things you did with the book. you mentioned lilydale. what is lilydale and what did you do while you were there? >> yes. lilydale is a spiritualist camp that was founded in 1879. it's a community of mediums who allegedly bring through messages from dead people.
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and when i was there, i threw myself into the life of the camp. i interviewed mediums, i actually took a course in how to become a medium yourself, and tried to explain why americans have been so interested in this kind of paranormal activity for at least 150 years. >> and that's the place you're saying where there is the least, the most inexplicable activity. >> for me, there was, yes. >> you also visited roswell, new mexico, which is iconic from the alien perspective. do you feel like you were able to uncover anything out of roswell that we should know? >> well, the interesting questions for me at roswell had to do with who do you put your trust in when it comes to expert knowledge? so in other words, i didn't see any ufos at the festival, that's not what it's designed to do. instead, people are poring over reports, who's lying, who's telling the truth, who's covering things up? and to me this is a legitimate question that has to do with paranormal activity, but it also
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has to do with just what we get day-to-day through popular media. >> meaning, in other words, to what -- at what information thresholds is the government a reliable source of information and what information threshold is the mass media a reliable source of information? >> yes. >> and reconciling mass media information, government information, with what people deem to be actual factual information? >> absolutely. yes. because, particularly, in the field of ufology, the study of ufos, you're always dealing with information that's been circulated through the mass media. there's a lot of editing, there's a lot of censoring that goes on, and there's a lot of spin there. one way and the other. so it leaves you, as an observer, as a researcher, in a sort of state of bewilderment. >> got it. and i'll save the killington visit for last. this is dousing, which is the use of a stick to magically find water or other objects. >> yes. >> of all of the things that
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we've discussed, this is the one that we can remember. my buddy and i used to run around in the backyard with a stick, trying to find water. i'm not sure that we were any good at it. did you find anybody in vermont who might actually be able to do this? >> well, i definitely got some cards, some business cards of people who have been dousing for a long time. they claim to get up to 90% success rates when they douse. i actually, at des moines college once took a group of students out on the main campus lawn, and with the help of metal coat hangers that had been bent into dousing rods, we pretty much found the layout of the underground water pipes and telephone wires. >> really? >> yes, i had secured a map from the buildings and grounds crews before we went out, and we were all pretty surprised that within, you know, some general range of accuracy, we were able to find the lines. >> and what did you learn -- what would be the dynamic that would create more gravitational
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pull, i guess, on the end of a stick? is that what that is? because there's water in the ground? if that's, in fact, what's going on? >> yes. there are a number of explanations for dousing, and electromagnetic pipe of connections between the douser and the source is one explanation. where it gets really strange is when you talk to dousers who do off-site dousing. in that case, what you're dealing with is a dowser can be any distance from a target and he or she is using a map and a pendulum to allegedly find the source of water. they're not even there at the site. so if that information is reliable, and i'm not saying it necessarily is, but if we take that into consideration, we're no longer in the realm of things like electromagnetism, we're more in the realm of psychic phenomenon. >> and at the end of the day, what is your explanation of the appetite for the paranormal, for the open space in the minds of people, in this case, they say, 75% of americans, but i think it's beyond our own country, to
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leave a space for the unknown? >> yes. well, my explanation for that is quite simply that the maps of reality that both mainstream science and most mainstream religions are giving people are not complete, or not even necessarily accurate in light of some of the data that comes out of the paranormal field. it's as simple as that. there's more going on in reality than our maps can account for. >> looking at the map and looking at what you're experiencing, it doesn't match up to, we're going to need a better map. >> cognitive dissonance. >>co a theme in our country and elsewhere. "haunted ground" is the book, david caterine, congratulations. thank you for the visit with us. coming up, "hardball." chris matthews one on one with republican presidential candidate, jon huntsman. is he the only reasonable guy in the field?
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and is that why he's doing so poorly? but first, jonathan capehart here to wrap up the week with a rant. follow the wings. [ male announcer ] humana and walmart have teamed up to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪ with the lowest national plan premium... ♪ ...and copays as low as one dollar... ♪ ...saving on medicare prescriptions is easy. ♪ so you're free to focus on the things that really matter. call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to for details.
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here with the friday daily rant, a friend of our program and a friend of all who would be so kind to grace us with his company, "washington post" editorial writer, jonathan capehart. hello, jonathan. >> hello, dylan. so yesterday on morning joe, i got a tad testy with house majority whip, kevin mccarthy. after joe scarborough accused the white house of hypocrisy and taking on a more populist bent while simultaneously raining more money on wall street than all of the republican candidates combined, the california republican said this about the
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president. >> i think the hypocrisy here is the president may use this for political gain. and the thing i think the president needs to do is find out that he is president to all americans. the thing that makes me most concerned overall is normally in divided government, we do big things. >> mccarthy then went on to talk about the glory days when democrats and republicans worked together to solve the complicated issues facing the country. well, those days are long gone. and mccarthy lecturing the president on being the president for all americans is so rich since obama has gotten into deep trouble with his base for bending over backwards to meet republicans more than halfway since he walked into the white house in january 2009. just last night, a bill for state aid for hiring teachers and first responders was defended on a procedural motion because it couldn't get the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster. every republican and two democrats voted no. that's the same maneuver that killed the overall american jobs act, which was filled with provisions that once garnered
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bipartisan support. and that's the same procedural hurdle used to stymie obama's efforts to do anything, even when the proposals are warmed-over republican ideas. this is the kind of nonsense that goes on just to do the basic functions of government. now you have an idea as to why it's so damned difficult to really do the hard stuff. that's why there's an extra-governmental supercommittee charged with dealing with this nation's long-term fiscal situation. but the super committee isn't in place solely because of republican recalcitrants. it's there because of an overall lack of leadership from republicans and democrats here in washington. will we need a super committee to take the necessary steps to right the imbalance with china? will we need a super committee to end the pernicious influence of money on our political system? and will we need a super committee to bring the banks to heel, to stop holding the economy hostage by becoming two big to fail? to stop operating like vultures with consumers as their easy
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prey. no. what we need is bold, fearless leadership, from the president and the congress, from republicans and democrats. but most importantly, from americans who without regard to party, put the country ahead of political gain. >> and what i love about what you just said is you pointed to what i believe is the modern political environment, which is issue-based problem solving. this is not about which party you are affiliated with. this is about whether you have the ability to actually resolve banking, resolve trade, resolve health. why do you think there's such resistance to an issue-based framework in d.c.? >> because if you make the hard decisions, because it will require hard decisions, you won't get re-elected. the american people want decisions made, but they don't exactly like the decisions that will have to be made. but that time is coming. >> we don't have the time. we can talk about this. what the if the decision was to dismantl


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